Feeds

Solar Challenge leaders whizz towards Adelaide

Chequered flag almost in sight

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

WSC Dutch team Nuon recovered ground lost to Tokai on Day 4 of the World Solar Challenge, ending the day just 20km behind the race leader. The top two are now less than 500km away from the finish line in Adelaide.

Tokai and Nuon are equally capable of driving at South Australia's 110km speed limit, but strong sidewinds today seem to have benefited Nuon.

Nuon's worst day was when they lost about 20 minutes to the reigning champions on Day 3. However, they believe their superior aerodynamic performance in both headwinds and crosswinds partially explains today's gain.

According to gossip in the Dutch overnight camp near Pimba, South Australia, Tokai's solar car also lost speed towards the end of today's racing, with speed falling to as low as 70km/h.

The University of Michigan's chance of lifting the WSC title for the first time is over. The third placed team started the day six minutes behind Nuon and 41 minutes behind Tokai. But they ended Day 4 about 107km behind Nuon, after their car shed a mudguard, (repeatedly we are told), and they then had to wait for the back-up truck bearing spares before carrying out a roadside repair, at the expense of valuable racing time.

So, with just 500km left to the chequered flag, the winner of the 2011 World Solar Challenge will certainly be crowned tomorrow. While Nuon is gaining momentum, this race is for Tokai to lose. Unless the Japanese make a mistake or suffer mechanical problems, it's hard to see how the Dutch can get into position to overtake.

In which case, the final result will be a repeat of 2009, with the University of Tokai hailed champions, Nuon, four-time winners in second place, and University of Michigan in third place for the fourth time in a row.

Further north, meanwhile, the race-within-a-race for fourth place is heating up with Dutch team Solar Team Twente ending the day ahead of Ashiya University of Japan, and Aurora, Australia's leading contender.

A quick rewind...

Our first view of the top solarcar teams today came at Glendambo, 250km south of Coober Pedy and 600km from the finish line in Adelaide.

Tokai made it in at 2.54pm (see pic) and left the compulsory checkpoint on time at 3.24pm.

Team Tokai at the checkpoint in Glendambo earlier today

Nuon left Glendambo just before 4pm, gaining five minutes on the race leader. In case you were wondering just how these solar racers pass the night, we caught up with them as they made camp a few kilometres north of Pimba at a tad past 6pm South Oz time:

Dutch tents this evening beside the Stuart Highway

The Dutch support truck

Beer, pokies and solarcars

A lovely view of Glendambo

Before we sign off for the night, we'd like to give a heads-up to Glendambo ("Sheep: 22,500, people: 30"), which is the eighth of nine compulsory checkpoints in the 3000km World Solar Challenge. Earlier today Lester and I shared the bar with a group of Serbian miners on their way to Prominent Hill in the Woomera Prohibited zone, a couple of hundred kilometres or so north-east. They appeared to be more interested in the beer and the pokies than in solarcar racing.

Tomorrow, it's onwards to Port Augusta and then Adelaide, and we'll leave you today with a tremendous picture taken by Team Nuon, a reminder of the bushfires that torpedoed racing on Monday afternoon (Day 2). ®

Nuon's Nuna6 drives by a bush fire: Pic: Nuon

Bootnote

Here's the main World Solar Challenge website.

We're here on Twitter, net connections permitting.

Also check out the cracking race coverage at http://www.solarwebsite.nl.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.